Discipline and Instruction

Psalms 94:12-13 NLT
Joyful are those you discipline, Lord , those you teach with your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked.

Discipline and teaching.

These two things are supposed to go hand in hand, because together they lead to wisdom. But one without the other is folly.

If I simply look to acquire knowledge, but I don’t have the self discipline to put it into practice,  that is foolish. If I only look at how I can twist information and knowledge into an argument that supports my own position that is foolish as well. We are meant to examine knowledge, to weigh it fairly against what we already know and believe to be true, to comprehend and understand what to incorporate into our beliefs and what to lay to the side. Most importantly,  we need the self discipline to put it into action in our lives.

However,  discipline without any knowledge or instruction is foolish as well. If we only say no and react with punishment alone, if we respond to wrong with retribution alone and no instruction, isn’t that foolish? If a daughter shows disrespect to her father and he responds with the emotional retribution of a slap across the face, excusing it as discipline – is his lack of instruction in itself not instructing her in the ways of dishonor, demonstrating through his visible actions and his own lack of self-discipline. If someone wronged retaliate in anger for crimes committed against them,  doesn’t their attempt to discipline someone else demonstrate their own lack of discipline because they are lacking instruction and wisdom?

You see, both go together. Just like grace and repentance. If someone has no self discipline, they might see grace as an excuse for them to continue in their sinful lives, calling it freedom while they avoid repenting and cling to their death blinded to the fact that they are lost. If someone has no instruction and guidance, they might believe that they are under the law,  and they might believe that they are justified in judging,  condemning,  and accusing others who aren’t living according to the law – believing that it is appropriate to measure others and to withhold forgiveness, blinded to understand the master whom they are serving.

But understanding grace should result in grattitude, not obligation. Understanding redemption should result in repentance and conviction, not guilt,  shame,  or condemnation.

And with understanding comes joy. And with joy comes the praises and honoring the Lord, which is our goal and purpose as Children of God. We are to sing His praises in our daily lives,  we are to give His name honor and glory.

So the question we should ask ourselves is – am I seeking His instruction, His discipline – so that I can bring a life of praise and honor to Him?

Am I allowing the truth of the Word of God to change me,  or am I twisting it to fit my own perception and desires? Instruction and discipline results in change – and real change does not usually come easy. Am I being changed, or am I trying to twist and change the Word to fit me?

Am I even truly seeking His will?

Does my life example support that answer?

If so, our faithfulness will carry us through the tough and trying times. If not, we need to genuinely ask ourselves if we are the wicked headed for the pit.

Saying something verbally doesn’t mean you believe. I can voice many empty words and lies and not actually believe them. So I ask you,  friend – do you believe? Are you surrendered to Christ today?

Let us die to Christ daily. Let us daily receive His instruction and His discipline to soften our hardened hearts. Let us understand both grace and repentance. Let us be the salt and the light that we are to walk today, as a praise and honor lifted to you,  Lord. Let our lives today praise your Holy name.

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